Federal Lands Resolution

by the National Convention – April 2012 – Nashville, Tennessee

Whereas, in regards to the power granted by the United States Constitution to the federal government to hold and control land within this Nation, Article I Section 8, clause 17 of the United States Constitution states:
“Congress shall have power to . . . exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square), as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings…”, and
Whereas, by authority of this Constitutional stipulation, Washington D.C. was created as a federally held jurisdiction, and (by consent of the State legislatures in which the lands were to be “federalized”) the other authorized actions were carried out (forts were established, as were magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other buildings), and
Whereas, No other authority for permanently-held federal lands is found within the United States Constitution, and
Whereas, the United States Constitution created a government whose powers are few and defined—enumerated in specifics within the constitution, and
Whereas, the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution reinforces the intent of the Founders that unless a power was specifically granted to the National government, it was withheld from the federal government and retained by the States, or the people:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  (Tenth Amendment), and
Whereas, it was clearly understood by the Founders of this Nation that additional States would be admitted and become part of the new nation.  Article IV Section 3 of the United States Constitution states:
“New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union…”
Whereas, within the Northwest Ordinance the Founders of this Nation created the regulations which were to guide the admission of new States to the Nation, and
Whereas, within that Northwest Ordinance the founders assured that all new States would be admitted upon equal footing and status with the original 13 States, stating:
“And whenever any of the said States shall have sixty thousand free inhabitants therein, such State shall be admitted by its delegates, into the Congress of the United States, on an equal footing with the original States, in all respects whatever;”  and
Whereas, by treaty and through purchase, the National government obtained additional land in the Westward movement, but in the beginning, as quickly as these lands were obtained, efforts were undertaken to pass those lands into the hands of the States, or to the people, as the new States were admitted as States, and
Wheras, this policy of divesting the federal government from lands was one of the means by which the federal government sought to eliminate the national debt, and
Whereas, by observing their actions as they admitted new States East of the Mississippi River, we may deduce that the Founding Fathers of this Nation intended that the National government NOT un-Constitutionally withhold lands from the States and the people, and
Whereas, in the West, the federal government has un-Constitutionally retained ownership of vast tracks of land that should have passed to the States or the people, and
Whereas, true wealth and prosperity are inextricably interwoven to the land (raw materials—minerals, timber, energy sources, food, water, etc. are all tied to land ownership), and
Whereas, federal land ownership prevents a full measure of prosperity from being attained in the States that have been thus handicapped, and
Whereas, there is no Constitutional justification for the federal government to be the largest land-holder in this Nation, and
Whereas, the Constitution states the original intention of Founders that the land holdings of the federal government be relatively small and constrained to specific purposes defined within the Constitution, and
Whereas, we may clearly see that the Founders carried out that intention as they administered the affairs of the Nation,
Therefore be it now resolved, that the Constitution Party strongly supports and encourages the United States government to honor the original intent of transferring lands within States from federal ownership to the States respectively, and to private American citizens in the most expeditious manner and time.